Campylobacter causes the most foodborne illnesses in Denmark

Monday, 03 July, 2017

Campylobacter wins the prize for causing more foodborne disease in Denmark than any other organism. In fact, Campylobacter is reported to cause 17 times reported disease than VTEC, eight times more than yersinia and four times more than Salmonella.

The National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark, in cooperation with Statens Serum Institut — the national institute of public health — and the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration has released its annual report for 2016 on the incidence of diseases that can be transmitted from animals and food to humans.

The incidence of Campylobacter-caused sickness has risen by more than 7% since 2015, but it is thought that this reflects more sensitive diagnostic methods rather than an actual increase.

Researchers, authorities and industry in Denmark have long worked together to collect data and to develop methods with the intention of reducing the risk of Danes falling ill from foodborne pathogens. The country has virtually eradicated Salmonella in broilers and eggs.

The report’s Salmonella source account estimates which sources have caused Salmonella infection in Danes. Of the 1074 infections, domestically produced pork is estimated to be the food source, which is the main cause of infections in 2016. A total of 6% of all cases are estimated to be caused by Danish pork, closely followed by imported chicken and pork (4% and 3.7% respectively).

More than half of the 1074 Salmonella infections in 2016 were travel related, with Thailand (19%), Turkey (13%) and Spain (5%) the most frequent sources of infection.

A Salmonella outbreak in salami sticks, which caused nine Danish children to become ill, was solved in 2016 because the Swedish authorities notified the Danish authorities. In the same year, Denmark was part of an international investigation of a Salmonella outbreak in Polish eggs, and a smaller — but unusual — outbreak, where several people fell ill with a Salmonella infection from their pet snakes.

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